This is the first winter that I haven’t run in a long time and, truth be told, I am not complaining. I do not miss the piles of laundry which come with 2 base layers and 4 tops from every single sub-zero run. Nor do I miss the trails of frozen snot that are stuck to my jacket. But I do miss the feelings of power and satisfaction that come after finishing something that, to most, seem unhumanly possible.
A few years ago, my friend, Erin, drove past as a few friends and I were just heading out for a run. It was a mere -19 below and she yelled out her window “You’re crazy! You know is 19 below, right?” Since then, she has also become a runner and, on our Snow Day this week, when 2o-25 centimetres led to road chaos and school closures, she headed out for her run – in temperatures hovering below -25C. From my side of the fence, she looked crazy.
A few days later, when temperatures were even colder, my heartrate jumped when I saw friend Walter bolting along the road. His face mask was covered with condensation turned snow and frozen snot. Only a runner can understand the excitement that comes from seeing another running doing something that the general population would describe as insane. I sent Walter the friendly double-honk, waved, and cheered him along.
During this week’s deep freeze, I have often thought that I am glad that I am not running. Then I qualify that thought with an “almost.” Had I been running through the fall, I most certainly would have been running in this seemingly coldest winter ever. I would have embraced the cold, struggled with the footing and finished feeling mighty. And I would have complained about the laundry too.
Instead, this year, Tammy the Hamstring and I get to drop into a downward dog at the yoga studio, where temperatures are 30c. As we get ready to leave, covered in a hot, sticky sweat, and someone opens the door, the cold rushes in and I watch the steamy air turn to an Arctic breath. For a brief moment, I think “I’m glad I’m not running,” pick up my shorts and tank, and head home.
And almost every time, on the drive home, I wonder if I would be running in this cold. Would I take a day or two off? Would I turn to the treadmill? Would I crosstrain instead? And every time, I have the same answer: I would most certainly be running.
But the fact is I am not running and, while I miss it, I really don’t miss running in the cold. This winter, I am happy to have my little escape to a hot, humid studio – and my little pile of laundry.